Only One God: Talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Q: In Islam, they say there is only one God, what do you think about that?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Of course, everybody says there is only one God. 

Judaism says there is only one God. Christianity says, only one God. Isn’t it? Hinduism says only one God. It says: ‘Ekam Sat Vipra’, only one God but manifested in many forms. You can adore him in whatever form you want.

There is only one light but it has seven colours. As Islam says, only one God but ninety-nine names.
Hinduism says, there are hundred and eight names and hundred and eight forms also, because all forms belong to one God only. The same God is in every form. Why? Because God is space, he is not a person, he is not an object, it is energy.

What is that energy? Jesus said ‘love’. Love is God.

And that is what is said in the Upanishads, in the ancient Vedic scriptures: God is love; God is energy and He is in you as you, He is in everybody. Somewhere He shines more, somewhere He is shining less.

In Spain, the sun shines more and in Berlin it shines a little less. Like that, in some places he is more visible as love and in another place he is more visible as something else. So God is energy, and that is what we are all made up of. Do you get what I am saying? There is only one God everywhere. So what Islam says is correct, there is only one God.

But the difficulty is when one says, ‘my God is the only God. Your God is false God.’ This is the problem. ‘Only if you believe in this book of mine, you will go to heaven; otherwise you will go to hell.’

That is why this world is suffering today with terrorism: because some people think only they have the key to heaven, not the others. This is not correct.

Buddhists also go to heaven. There are 1.2 billion Buddhists in the world. What do you think? God has deprived them? They don’t go to heaven? That is nonsense! And there are 1.2 billion Hindus. You think they are all suffering in hell? No!

I think these fanatics have misinterpreted the Holy Scriptures, whether it is Islam or Koran or Bible.
See, there was only one Jesus. But today there are seventy two versions of Bible and each one says ours is the correct one. In fact Bible was written seventy years after Jesus. Those who wrote Bible never saw Jesus.

Now you can play an exercise. You just whisper one word to one person in that corner. Tell the same word to other person next to you. By the time that one word or sentence travels, to the person in this corner, it will be completely different. The whole thing gets distorted. The same happened with the Bible.

Jesus said, ‘we are all the children of the only Father,' and they reversed it saying, ‘Jesus, the only Son of the Father’. If he was the only Son, he would have just said ‘my Father’,  but he said ‘our Father’. That means you are all his children and that is what Jesus said. But later on, when the Church wanted to spread, they changed the words here and there: they used it to their own convenience.

In fact, Jesus lived in India for twelve years and he learned the Vedic scriptures there. Then when he went back from India, he had to convince people about the knowledge that God is love; he is not someone who always punishes you. It was so difficult for him to convince people to do meditation. And remember, he was surrounded by fishermen. People who were not high intellectuals or who had not studied a lot of knowledge. When He said God is within, the Kingdom of Heaven is within you, they would ask, ‘On which side of God will you sit, the left side or right side?’ Within, there is no left, no right.

So he had to teach them in parables, in stories in those days. Doubting Thomas was a little more intelligent. Intelligent people doubt, innocent people don’t doubt so much. But when Thomas started doubting, he told him, ‘You go to India and better you learn and see where I learned.’

And so after Jesus’ crucifixion, Thomas left for India. Before Christianity came to Europe, the apostle Thomas went to India and he stayed in Mylapore, South India, and he died there. His grave is still there today.

When someone is doubting, what do you tell them? ‘If you doubt me, you go and see for yourself.' Don’t you say that? And that is why Thomas, of all the apostles, was asked to go to India, because that is where Jesus learned. He directed him to his own source....

I say, we should not be too fanatic about anything. We see beyond (dogma). We see what is true and what applies to us, we take that. Anything that we talk and discuss here, if it doesn’t appeal to you then you don’t need to take it, just drop it. Take only what you feel is right. You have to ask your heart.

So we need to be honest with ourselves. That is the essence of all the scriptures in the world: simplicity, love, honesty and a sense of belongingness to everything and everybody. Don’t make it compartmental: I am this religion or I am that religion, no!

You have no difficulty eating Danish pastry, no difficulty eating Chinese food. Just by eating Chinese food, you don’t become Chinese. Tomorrow you don’t start speaking Chinese. You eat Chinese food and you like it. In the same way, we should accept knowledge also. If it is Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, anything good, anything that uplifts human life should be welcome. Don’t you think so? And don’t think if you read Buddha’s scriptures or if you read Hinduism, then Jesus will be angry at you or you have betrayed Jesus. Not at all!

If that was the case, Jesus would not have sent Thomas to go to India. So, this narrow minded division that people have created is from three reasons: (1) it is out of ignorance; (2) it is out of fear, or (3) it is out of wanting to control.

But mainly, ignorance.

So we need to bring that bigger awareness in people, especially in the Middle East. It is so necessary. I see every day there are so many heated arguments, fights, killings, inhuman behavior. How do you work with this kind of people?

That is why, in our Art of Living courses, we don’t talk about religion: Just come and breathe. Do some breathing. When they breathe, then they realise, ‘Oh yes, I can feel very good inside’. And when you become hollow and empty, you feel good.

We have done that to people in so many places, in all the conflict zones, and we should continue doing it. It is a big task and a difficult task, but we should continue. What do you think, isn’t it?

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